Posts about: Travel in Italy

Travel

Postcards from Sabina

My first visit to the region known as Sabina coincided with my first ever trip to Rome, years ago now, when I had booked six days in the city and then decided that one of them should be used to explore a small town within day-tripping distance. The list of potential destinations inside that radius is not exactly short – the countryside around Rome is full of small towns, a constellation of tiny dots with mysterious names filling up the map and making a choice difficult. My only requirements were that the town would be charming and that it could be...

Travel

Moments from a weekend on Procida

One: Lemon salad We were on the bus, jolting down a terrifyingly narrow street, when I learned how to make lemon salad. I was perched sideways on a slippery plastic bucket seat that made cracking noises whenever the bus hit a pothole or a poorly placed cobblestone, and Alessandro was wedged in the back with a young family. Like us, everyone on the bus was on their way to the beach and generally looking very relaxed and jovial in the way a person does when they know that they’re minutes from a lounge chair next to the sea. I can’t remember exactly...

Travel

See Naples and die… in a taxi

I’m sure there are normal drivers in Naples. There must be. The entire city can’t possibly be made up of people who act like they honestly believe they’re in a high-speed car chase as soon as they slide into the driver's seat, although after several (albeit brief) visits to the city, I have yet to see any evidence that this might be true. In fact, I’m convinced that the phrase “see Naples and die” first came to mind in the backseat of a taxi*. Last weekend, Alessandro and I took a short trip to Procida (which merits its own post, free...

Travel

A Sicilian weekend

Sicily is beautiful. I say this emphatically, even though what I should really be saying is that South-Eastern Sicily is beautiful, because I still haven’t seen the rest, and Sicily is a surprisingly large island. Still, every time I see another piece of it – a town, or a beach, or even just a sunlight-flooded piazza – I love it a bit more. Alessandro loves it so much that he actually feels, deep down, as though he might be Sicilian. A few weekends ago, we flew down to Sicily to spend a few days in Ortigia (the historic centre of the city of Siracusa, which, unlike most historic centres, actually...

Life

Photo Friday: After the rain

It’s been a rainy, grey week in Rome. Not exceptionally cold, but sufficiently damp and unpleasant to keep me mostly cooped up indoors, with an umbrella close at hand every time I step outside. A day or two of rain can qualify as cozy and justify some time spent lounging around with blankets and mugs of tea; any more than that starts to feel excessive. A string of rainy days has its upside though: When the rain lets up and the sky clears, the whole city emerges feeling refreshed – even the colours seem brighter....

Travel

Where every tourist has gone before

Two weeks ago I decided, rather abruptly, that I needed to see Venice. After nearly two and a half years of living in Italy I still hadn’t made my way to what is arguably one of the most famous cities in the world, even though the only thing standing between me and Venice had been three and a half hours in a high-speed train – hardly a hinderance, particularly when the train is equipped with wifi and a coffee cart bringing espresso and various packaged biscotti directly to your seat every time the train pulls in and out of another station. It’s possible that I...

Life

Photo Friday: Layers

One of the things I love most about Rome (and there are many things that I love about Rome) are the layers of sun-faded colour, chipped stucco and haphazard stonework that make up the city’s buildings. It’s almost impossible to find a perfect, unblemished facade within the historical centre – even the most recently restored palazzo is soon under attack from the weather, careless vehicles rounding too-tight corners and vines creeping their way over everything. The layers are like a building’s personal history; hundreds of years expressed on a stone canvas....

Travel

Ponza and Palmarola in pictures

There's not much that I can tell you about the islands of Ponza and Palmarola. Or, rather, I could fill page after page with words about these islands, trying to describe the intense blues of the water; the way the cliffs, alternatively rust-coloured and chalky white, rise up straight out of that water and finish in dramatic points and swooping arches; the colourful little wooden boats buzzing around everywhere, full of tanned, relaxed vacationers – but really, pictures do a much better job of telling this story, of summing up the four wonderful days spent on a friend's yacht off...

Travel

Notes from a weekend on Ischia

Sometimes, a few days of seaside relaxation are more than just a nice way to spend a long weekend. Sometimes, they get to be a necessity, growing in importance with every summer day spent in the city, with every moment you look out the window and think about how nice it would be to be looking at water instead of cars and motorini and suited businessmen on their way to the office. And sometimes, it's nice to feel far away for a few days, even when you're hardly a few hours from home. Italy excels at meeting these needs. As a...

Life

The Roman beach experience: Culture shock all over again

I'll let you in on a secret: I don't really like going to the beach. Or at least I didn't, until very recently. It doesn't make sense, of course – I really should have loved the beach. I grew up on an island; I lived within walking distance of not just one, but an entire selection of beaches, and family vacations at the beach were a regular occurrence all throughout childhood. The typical Victoria beach experience, though, involves swaths of pebbles streaked with dried seaweed and clumps of kelp in varying stages of decomposition, heaps of tangled driftwood occupying most of...

Food  |  Travel

One day in the city of chaos and pizza

On Saturday I woke up, headed to the train station with a friend and took a two-hour train ride to Naples, where we ate a pizza and some pastries before declaring our mission complete and returning home. Let me start off by saying this: Naples hits you hard, and it hits you almost as soon as you step out of the relative calm of the train station. When you're looking for words to describe this city, skip right past the typical list of adjectives that you'd have at the ready for most European cities – "charming", "romantic", or "picturesque" just isn't...

Food  |  Travel

A weekend in southern Sicily

From the air, Sicily looks parched and empty; a few lonely villages dotting an otherwise forlorn landscape. Once you're on the ground, watching the landscape slide by from the windows of an intercity bus, it starts to look a lot greener – palm trees materialize, and cacti, and then groves of deeply green trees laden with oranges, clover-filled fields and a few vineyards forming neat rows over nearby hillsides. Along with my friend Heather, who has flown out from Victoria to visit me for two weeks, I'm on my way to Modica, a town close to the coast in the south-east...

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